Oh, cool your jets, haters.
You have to admit that it’s almost not worth me writing a review of anything like Hellboy, a comic book character that I happen to know nothing about but you happen to know everything about. If I say it’s phenomenal, purists will turn up their noses and insist that a filmic version can only sully the glory of the original blah-de-blah. If I say it’s not phenomenal, I’ll be told that I could never understand the sophisticated dark comedy that is HELLBOY. Even though director Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) is becoming an individual brand name himself, the Hellboy films still carry the mark of the red beast, and the movies seem to be less about del Toro being dreamy and more about a superhero making wisecracks. So you see, I’m damned if I do, damned if I don’t.
Well, I’m going to take the low road and infuriate every dude I know, because apparently they all view Hellboy as an essential thread in the fabric of their youth*. The fact remains, this movie is neither good nor bad. It is merely forgettable. The most solid 2.5 star movie I’ve seen in a long time. My criteria for painting a film this neutral tone of dishwater beige in my mind is simple: If I have to struggle to get a clear memory of this film after only 22 hours, and if I have to cringe during more than a couple of lines, and if I have to cry to the heavens, “When will it all end?? I’m tired and hungry and disinterested!” then I categorize this film as unalterably ordinary.
Sure, the big, red guy’s one-liners are generally funny. And the monsters he brashly destroys on behalf of the FBI look really cool. And as my husband sulkily reminds me (already mad and I haven’t even finished writing this yet), it’s not every day that you see some superheroes getting drunk on cheap Mexican beer. All those things are just great. No one’s career was ruined by this movie, but no one’s going to do that thing where they turn to their friend while in line at Starbucks and say, “Actually, Hellboy 2 is really good. It’s like an actual good movie. I mean, I went into it with low expectations, so I was really super impressed.” This is no Iron Man. The story was dumb, the writing spotty, the acting is lackluster, and while it’s a beautiful, magical miracle that Red (giant devil-type demon with massive stone hand and a frightening jawline) ad Liz (Selma Blair, ’nuff said) are going to have a baby, the mind recoils in horror when thinking about how that baby was actually created. Oh God, I just thought about it again. And again. And again.
Blech, I think I’ll wrap this up so I can go back to thinking about Wall-E nonstop. Does it really matter what I think, anyway? Maybe some of you who loved Pan’s Labyrinth might still be on the fence (don’t get your hopes up), but it seems like most people are either predisposed to love this movie or hate it. That’s OK, they’re allowed to waste their energy duking it out over this mediocre piece of ectoplasm. The rest of us can turn our hopes and dreams towards The Dark Knight. And if that fails us, there’s always Pineapple Express. And if that fails us, then there’s Wall-E 2: Eve’s Revenge**. What I’m saying is, it’s summer, it’s not super hot out. Save your money and your time for when there’s a movie worth seeing. In the meantime, go outside and play frisbee golf or something.
*Which is weird, because in my recollection, they all spent their youth playing Doom and watching Salute Your Shorts.
**This doesn’t exist (yet), but I think my friend Thara is working on it.